Tanker Augustina

Tanker Augustina

Tom Womack
Tom Womack

February 6th, 2014, 8:09 am #1

Hi All...

I've read through a couple of different threads posted several years ago regarding the tanker Augustina. Has there ever been any resolution as to which Japanese DD was the culprit which massacred her crew? So far as I can tell from a cursory read through the various threads is that Augustina's crew apparently witnessed the death of USS Pope some 14-15 miles to the south before being intercepted herself. This DD was apparently one of those screening the Japanese heavy cruisers which sank Exeter and Encounter.

Thanks...
Tom
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Melmoth the Wanderer
Melmoth the Wanderer

February 6th, 2014, 7:53 pm #2

No evidence AUGUSTINA saw POPE's sinking, n/t
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KevinD
KevinD

February 7th, 2014, 2:42 am #3

Hi Tom,

Unfortunately, re the name of the ship that massacred the crew, as far as I am aware, no. I personally spent a great deal of time some years ago liaising with a very knowledgeable person / author (with regards the IJN) - who also had an abiding interest in the question - trying to sort that mystery out and we never could reach a definitive conclusion. Several times we thought we were very close, only to run up against a brick wall. All we eventually came up with was that it may not have been a DD at all.

As for Augustina witnessing Pope's sinking, again no. Only a inference, from what is written in the book Japans Blitzkrieg by Bernard Edwards - and given we now know from where her wreck lays that she was in the vicinity - that she may have seen the planes that attacked Pope and heard the bombing. Attached is an excerpt from said book. And that inference, IIRC, given the timing of the attack, was that Pope was the only ship being attacked from the air in the vicinity of where we now know Augustina was at the time (which was certainly not off Bali as the author asserts.)

If one just goes on the bearings, that is where he states that Moerman (Augustina's captain) said the planes came from (north) and where the explosions were heard ("in the direction of Lombok Strait" - which would have been south east if she was north of Bali) then it 'fits' for what could have been an attack on Pope (given that we also know approximately where Pope was circa that time).

Save for the silly reference to seeing the 'tall peak on the island of Bali to starboard' - which Moerman surely didn't say - and a few other oddities (he names the Jap ship as the DD Harukaze) it seems much of what he has written though may have came from Moerman / or a report that Moerman made re the sinking and aftermath, and is the most (only?) detailed account I have seen of Augustina's sinking, and runs for seven pages in the book.



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Melmoth the Wanderer
Melmoth the Wanderer

February 8th, 2014, 3:40 am #4

Hi All...

I've read through a couple of different threads posted several years ago regarding the tanker Augustina. Has there ever been any resolution as to which Japanese DD was the culprit which massacred her crew? So far as I can tell from a cursory read through the various threads is that Augustina's crew apparently witnessed the death of USS Pope some 14-15 miles to the south before being intercepted herself. This DD was apparently one of those screening the Japanese heavy cruisers which sank Exeter and Encounter.

Thanks...
Tom

Caveat lector.

The account is filled with made up details which seem to have been fabricated by Edwards himself. They certainly do not appear in the statements(s) given by the sole survivor of the incident.

Nor is this the first book produced with such dubious 'historical' facts by the (extremely prolific) Edwards, for that matter.

So, read it with care, and utilize it--if necessary--with even more caution.

MthW
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KevinD
KevinD

February 9th, 2014, 1:43 am #5

Hi Don,

Re your;
>>>>>The account is filled with made up details which seem to have been fabricated by Edwards himself. They certainly do not appear in the statements(s) given by the sole survivor of the incident>>>>


Yes, as I alluded to in my post, Edwards certainly took some creative license with his account. Unfortunately without seeing the originals one doesn't know just what is fact and what is not in the finer details (of his account) either then.

So it seems from your post that you have, or have seen, Moermans original statement/s? If so, where can one find these? Would dearly like to see copy.

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Joined: December 23rd, 2007, 11:46 am

February 9th, 2014, 6:28 pm #6

The son of 3rd Engineer L. Meijer posted his father's official report on Dutchfleet.net. Here it is:







The post on Dutchfleet.net is here:

http://www.dutchfleet.net/showthread.ph ... =Augustina
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Tom Womack
Tom Womack

February 10th, 2014, 3:38 am #7

Hi All...

I've read through a couple of different threads posted several years ago regarding the tanker Augustina. Has there ever been any resolution as to which Japanese DD was the culprit which massacred her crew? So far as I can tell from a cursory read through the various threads is that Augustina's crew apparently witnessed the death of USS Pope some 14-15 miles to the south before being intercepted herself. This DD was apparently one of those screening the Japanese heavy cruisers which sank Exeter and Encounter.

Thanks...
Tom
Thanks Guys N/T
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Kevin D
Kevin D

February 14th, 2014, 2:41 am #8

First, thanks for posting that report Jan!

Now two questions if I may for those that can read Dutch.

1) I see no mention in that report of the DD's name being Harukaze. So where did that come from I wonder, as its not just Edwards who claims she was the one (although it would seem in retrospect not to have been her).

2) Now, even in my dictionary 'translated' Dutch I see no mention of Jap overflight times, or bearings said flights came and went on (with regards 'bombings over the horizon'). So again, where did that come from in Edwards account I wonder?
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Jan Visser
Jan Visser

February 24th, 2014, 5:25 pm #9


Caveat lector.

The account is filled with made up details which seem to have been fabricated by Edwards himself. They certainly do not appear in the statements(s) given by the sole survivor of the incident.

Nor is this the first book produced with such dubious 'historical' facts by the (extremely prolific) Edwards, for that matter.

So, read it with care, and utilize it--if necessary--with even more caution.

MthW
There is another source that might warrant attention.

I just checked the official statement by L. Meijer. It does not mention the overflight of airplanes at all. Second, it does not mention the name of the destroyer (DD) either (not the one that executed the massacro nor the one that picked Meijer up eventually.

I checked a number of my secondary sources, and the description of Meijer's events is mostly derived from his statement (drawn up in October,1945), or a book called "Varen in Oorlogstijd' by S.J. Graaf van Limburg Stirum, published in 1948. The book was based on desk research, but also new interviews with World War II survivors, and it contains much more details than the original statement of Meijer has. Presumably, Meijer recounted his experiences to the author including new details.

"Varen in Oorlogstijd" mentions that "after lunch" (presumably 12 or 12.30), several Japanese bombers and waterplanes were sighted, flying on a southern course. They left the Augustina alone. Shortly after, the Augustina sighed the sprays of water of exploding bombs on the horizon. After about 30 minutes, the aircraft returned and again the bombers took no notice of Augustina. The waterplanes however approached the ship directly and followed every manoeuvre of the ship, but didn't drop any bombs nor did they machinegun the ship. Shortly after, a plume of smoke was sighted in the Northeast and a Japanese destroyer approached at full speed.

The odd thing is, is that "Varen in Oorlogstijd" mentions that the lifeboats cast off from the ship at 3 PM, whereas Meijer in his earlier statement said that the Japanese "destroyer" was not sighted until 4 PM.

Perhaps of interest is that the second destroyer "transferred Meijer to another naval vessel, where he found the crew of USS Pope, and was brought ashore on March 7 at Makassar.

Regards,
Jan
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Joined: December 23rd, 2007, 11:46 am

February 25th, 2014, 9:29 pm #10

For those interested, I scanned the pages on Augustina from Varen in Oorlogstijd.

http://www.netherlandsnavy.nl/files/Aug ... xtract.pdf

Jan
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